Chilling out in Crete

Trip Start Apr 04, 2007
Trip End Oct 22, 2007

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

It has been a lovely few days here in Crete doing...well, not very much of anything, actually!

We spent one day exploring the pretty harbour town of Chania, including a cool Venetian lighthouse and the bustling inner harbour, which really came to life after sunset, with all of the restaurants along the water doing a roaring trade and people sipping on cocktails and eating huge plates of fresh seafood.    We managed to find a little room in a pensione near the harbour with a tiny little balcony looking out over cobbled streets, and woke up to the sound of church bells from the nearby square, it was all quite picturesque, really!

The next day we caught a bus to the wee little town of Stavros, about 20 minutes from Chania along winding waterfront roads.  After braving surly bus drivers, preoccupied ticket sellers and incomprehensible announcements over the PA at the bus station, we eventually got on the right bus and headed off.  Unfortunately, we had no idea where our hotel was, so optimistically got off at what appeared to be the middle of the village, and started walking.  Two hours later, still hauling all our gear, we managed to sift through enough of the contradicting directions the well-intentioned locals had given us to eventually find our hotel at Kavos Beach.

Excitingly (well, we were excited about it, anyway) it even had a little kitchen, so we could cook for ourselves for the first time since leaving Canada - I've never been so excited about spaghetti or cornflakes in my life!!! After a quick run to the supermarket, we settled in with some German beer, Italian pasta and Greek sunshine, and proceeded to do very little for the next day and a half.  It was awesome.

Our plan today had been to rent a car and do some sightseeing on the rest of the island, but we woke up to pouring rain and decided against it.  We were sorry to miss out on the war cemetaries, since the area around Chania has some amazing World War Two historical sites. The owner of the hotel had been telling us about a memorial on the other side of Chania to the 5000 or so German paratroopers who had attempted to attack the island in one battle during World War Two, but were ambushed by the Allies and slaughtered the minute they set foot on the island.  Although we didn't meet any Greeks who had sheltered Allied soldiers during the war, we were struck by how even the younger people we met talked about the war as though it had just happened last week.

Tonight we are in Heraklion, the capital of Crete, and after some negotiating and research we have managed to book ferry tickets to Santorini tomorrow, supposedly one of the most beautiful of the Greek islands - we'll let you know after we see it!  Our hostel here is VERY basic, although we're slowly learning that things like sheets, toilet paper, and doors are luxuries in most parts of the hostelling world.  Oh, for the backpacker hostels in New Zealand......

All our best from Greece,
Dan and Gabrielle
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